The Detroit Red Wings are once again riding the free agent roller coaster on July 1. While the team was reportedly hot on the heels of former Sabre Christian Ehrhoff as recently as yesterday, it appears the Wings have moved on from efforts to sign the German defenseman in favor of free agent blue liners Matt Niskanen and Dan Boyle.
Ansar Khan at MLive writes that Christian Ehrhoff asked for a five year deal, but the Red Wings were only willing to offer three years to the 31 year old blue liner. Instead it appears the team is zeroing in on 27-year-old Matt Niskanen. They haven’t balked at the term (7 years) or the price ($6 million or more) that Niskanen’s camp is rumored to be asking for, which puts Detroit on the short list for the former Penguin.
In addition to Niskanen, Khan writes that the Red Wings are also interested in veteran Dan Boyle. They would like to sign Boyle for ‘two years for around $5 million to $5.5 million per season.’
Both Boyle and Niskanen offer one big option that the Wings would love and that’s a legitimate right-handed threat on the blue line. The Red Wings have six blue liners under contract and all of them are left handed. Coach Mike Babcock reportedly wants a right handed shot for the power play and beyond. Ehrhoff is a lefty, which may have put him below the other two as far as a potential fit in Detroit.
The Red Wings are now free to make contract offers to anyone they like as the NHL free agency period began at 11 AM EST. If they want to bolster their blue line, it appears they’ll be near the front of the line to do so.